Your Monthly Garden Chores for March and April
It's all about fertilization this spring
Get your soil tested. Kits are available at your county UF/IFAS Extension Office, with complete instructions. Don’t waste money or time on fertilizers and soil amendments that you might not need. Test both your garden soil and your lawn soil separately. Amend your garden soil as the test indicates but wait on the lawn until April.
Plant bulbs, tubers and corms such as irises, lilies, gladiolas, agapanthus and ornamental gingers.
Check for insect pests on tender new growth on shrubs and perennials. Be sure to check the underside of the leaf. Use insecticidal soap as needed.
Once you know your garden soil is good to go, sow seeds for corn, green beans, peppers and cucumbers.
If your lawn needs it, fertilize it using a 15-0-15 formula that includes 7.5 percent slow-release nitrogen.
Prune and fertilize spring-blooming shrubs such as azaleas and forsythia once the blossoms fall.
Yard and Garden Critter: Fleas
Fleas belong to the genus Ctenocephalides and — I was surprised to learn — C. felis has been identified as the “cat flea” and C. canis as the “dog flea.”
I was not surprised to learn both feed on dogs and cats, as well as squirrels, chickens, rabbits, rodents and people. In the yard, fleas like to hide among plant debris, weeds and lawn thatch.
Mow your grass to the appropriate height and de-thatch it. Pull weeds. Remove old pine straw and pine bark mulches and compost them. Apply fresh cedar mulch.
It’s a little more expensive but it looks great, and fleas hate the smell. Flea larvae is usually found in dry, shaded areas that pets frequent, so treat these areas first.
Water it heavily; this might be enough. Neither larvae nor eggs can survive in water.
Sprays containing beneficial nematodes have also been effective in shady areas.
If you believe you must use an insecticide, follow the label instructions, particularly safety precautions regarding people and pets.